Higher Ground would like to hear from Kathy’s clients, colleagues and friends who wish to attend her combined reunion and farewell on May 24, which also coincides with her 70th birthday.
Guests will include graduates of Higher Ground who are up to 30 years drug-free.
“Among Kathy’s strengths and skills is her ability to engage the most fearful, resistant or defensive person in the assessment process including whanau,” says Board of Trustees chair and Higher Ground founder Janet Colby. “She has such empathy and compassion for those who present to the service. Over the years and till this day people quote me words of wisdom she has imparted on them sometimes years earlier.”
Kathy trained as a social worker in Canada, which she says prepared her well to work with the strengths that clients bring with them. “A lot of what we do at Higher Ground is really not what we learn from a book it’s more about who we are.”
As part of the Community Team, Kathy often visits clients first at Higher Ground or in prison, guides them into a support house, through treatment and Continuing Care and into their new lives. She is often the first person clients and their families meet. She has continued to stay in touch and work with many of them for years, and there will be hundreds of people wanting to honour her.
These days, unlike her early years, Higher Ground has premises big enough to accommodate such a gathering. Kathy has seen Higher Ground grow from 10-12 residents in a house adjacent to the Mission Sisters in Upland Road, Remuera, to around 20 residents in St Georges Bay Road, Parnell and now up to 52 residents in Te Atatu Peninsula.
She was Community Team leader for many years, until 2010 when she went back to part-time work. In the last few years Kathy helped start and worked with an education group for whanau/family and friends.